DoCoMo tower runs on wind, sunlight

by Izumi Yuasa

TATEYAMA, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Visitors to the southern tip of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture might be surprised to see a multicolored wind turbine tower.

The blue, green and yellow tower stands about 32 meters high and has solar cell panels at the bottom.

The DoCoMo Eco-Tower started operating in July as a base station for NTT DoCoMo’s third-generation FOMA mobile phones.

The station generates electricity through both wind power and sunlight.

NTT DoCoMo isn’t the only player in this game.

Kyocera Corp. has installed a solar-power system at its head office in Kyoto, and a building in Kobe where Misawa Homes Kinki Co. and other companies have their offices is equipped with a similar system.

Some convenience store chains, including Daily Yamazaki, FamilyMart and Lawson, have set up solar-power systems. Suzuki Motor Corp. operates two wind power generators at its plant in Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture.

NTT DoCoMo’s cell-phone base station on the Boso Peninsula, located about 30 minutes by bus from JR Tateyama Station, uses electricity generated by the wind turbine and solar cells. It stores surplus electricity in batteries for use on rainy days and at night.

“It doesn’t use power company electricity at all,” a DoCoMo official said. The company says it established the base station as a way to contribute to society by promoting conservation.

Display meters at the tower recently showed the volume of power generated by sunlight amounting to 1.3 kw, far more than the 0.4 kw the station consumes.

DoCoMo officials declined to reveal how much money it took to build the base station, but the tower is generating a favorable reaction from local residents.

An elderly woman said, “It’s going to be convenient for my grandchild, who has a cell phone.”

Tadashi Hosaka, who runs a tourist lodge and often goes boating in the area, said: “I think it is all right because it serves as a landmark, like a lighthouse. It does not emit any strange polluted gas. All my customers ask me, ‘What is it?’ “